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Time for the Aravishing Marmots to wake up

When the sunny days come, nature wakes up and small mammals come out of their burrows. Let us tell you the story of the Aravissantes Marmottes!

What’s that noooiiiise? I’m going to have to stick my head out to see where that racket’s coming from.

– Hey Pierrot, what’s the hullabaloo about?
– Argh, let me sleep a bit longer, be quiet you’ll wake everyone up.
– Pfff I have to do everything round here.

Right… I’m going to sort out my fur a bit, I’m all dusty, this soil is unbelievable. It’s been keeping us warm for 6 months but come on. Argh! ow! oh! wow! It’s so sunny, it’s so warm, the snow’s nearly melted and the flowers have bloomed.

– Pierrot come and see, come quiiiiii… NO, GO BACK, man that’s not what I was expecting. Huge massive feet, massive things spinning round, I think the humans have dropped their sliding boards now. Hey, can you smell how stuffy it is in here? It stinks in here, we need to let it air.
– “How are we going to air a burrow that’s 9m long? You know we’re not staying here this summer, it will air on its own now we’ve unblocked the holes. Give it a rest with your airs and graces, now you’ve woken everyone up let’s go outside and drink in the beautiful summer that’s on its way. Ouch! argh! oh! phew! Just look at how nice it is over there Mimine, there’s still a bit of snow on Trou de la Mouche but who cares, we’re not going there.

[CLICK]

– EEEEKKKKKK they’ve brought their whatchamacallit that clicks all the time.
– EEK EEK Pierrot it’s a camera, you know that by now. I’ll pose for you later, my body’s summer-ready but I’m having a bad fur day. Come on, let’s go over there, they won’t follow us this time.
– Ah there you go…you’re running “mé” all over the shop.

Pierrot’s already moaning. Every time we come out of hibernation, he thinks I’m running around like a headless chicken and I should save my energy. I can’t stay put. It’s so good to get out. Don’t you think?

I love going on treks. I don’t usually get out much. I stay near one of our many hideouts in case of danger. I don’t have to stray too far to soak up the great outdoors and top up my tan.  But I’m really tempted to venture further. A bit like you humans. I know that after winter you can’t wait to hit the hiking trails in summer and gaze at the sunsets in your shorts and sneakers!

I’ll be honest, I run away from you on my first few outings EEK. It’s not to be mean, don’t think that. You’re so happy on your first hikes that I can spot you a mile away. You guys aren’t exactly subtle. Although some of you do surprise me. Sometimes I let you take a photo of me napping or sunbathing. Don’t I spoil you?

We ran into two chamois on our outing with Pierrot. “we didn’t spend 6 months hiding kid,” they said to me. Man those chamois, they’re always so proud and brave. I’m sure they’re jealous, they’d love to be cosy in my burrow in winter. Especially during the snow storms. I’m not around to see it myself but I bet they’re less cocky then.

Pierrot left me to it a little later, that’s always the way when I go higher up. He says I “ringale” too much for my first time out but mainly that I go too far and it’s dangerous. Pfff that guy, he knows he can hear me shout if I’m in trouble plus Momo’s bound to be keeping an eye out from afar (we’ll go and visit him later). Luckily our summer burrow isn’t at the top, or else I don’t know how he’d get there.

Did you know we have lots of burrows? EEK listen up class. We stay in a special burrow in winter. I’m guessing you want the scientific name? Ah these humans. Yes, wait a second I’ll tell you. The winter burrow is called a hibernaculum. Once we’re all inside, we block up the holes with a special mixture. We have to protect ourselves.

When hibernation is over, we head to our summer burrow. We go there to sleep and in case of danger. I’ll go there later this year. That’s right, I’m old enough to breed… with my Pierrot! In late June my babies will stay in the winter burrow until early July. Then I’ll raise them in the summer burrow. We have a hideout burrow too in case of danger.

Right, let’s get back to life as a marmot… I can’t see any humans, golden eagles, dogs… I’M OFF!! I ran into a lovely Alpine ibex on my way. He butted out his huge horns and told me he was the king of the mountains. I told him that’s all well and good but I’m the queen of cosy burrows EEK EEK.

I can see you’re reading my story. Don’t tell me that some of you don’t know the difference between a chamois and an Alpine ibex? You can’t come out on a hike and disturb me then tell me you can’t tell the difference… EEK come on! Alright, I’ll give you 10 seconds but let’s make it quick, I don’t have much time and if a fox pops up then you’re in for it.

Chamois are more nervous (apart from with me, I know some of them because I’m from round here and I’m Mimine the star). Their horns are slim, curved and far darker than Alpine ibex horns. They have a mask on their heads… No not a carnival mask, a black and white eye mask down to their muzzle.

On the other hand, you can get close to Alpine ibex, maybe even as close as you are to me. Their horns are pale, chunky and can be HUGE. Their hide is all the same colour. All good? Can you tell them apart now? Great, you just need a few more titbits before I stop thinking you’re all “monchus”. EEK. Let’s get back on our way.

As you can see, we’re on the Combe de Grand Crêt, up there you can see Trou de la Mouche…Ah damn it, you can’t see. What a shame EEK. If you want to see what I’m talking about, you need to come this summer or else you’re missing out, as well as missing me and some of the Aravashing marmots in my family… that’s some serious FOMO! Loads of hikers come up this Combe or valley every year. They’re brave… As far as I can tell, it must take forever to get there.

I like to spend a couple of minutes enjoying the views. The Aravis mountains are quite someth…. Oooo dandelions. Yum my favourite. You know I love plants. I tend to eat in the morning and late evening when the plants are dewy and fresher. I actually drink mountain dew. Don’t get it mixed up with Mountain Dew… I don’t think it’s the same thing. You must be wondering how I know so much about your human lives. Well, I pay attention. I love finding out what’s going on around me, especially who’s taking photos of me!!!

Come on, enough chit-chat, let’s go back down. I don’t want Pierrot to be proved right and run into a fox or golden eagle. They’re our two main enemies. Then there are dogs and other things but I don’t have time to tell you about all of them. I’m speeding downhill.

– “Hi Momo, I knew you’d be out, you’re like me when hibernation is over, I know you too well! ”

– “Hi Mimine, you can tell we’re from the same family! Isn’t it amazing though? It’s just us, let’s enjoy ourselves. I’ve been drinking in the view since this morning, I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of the Aravis. Would you like a clover? I picked some earlier.”

– “That’s kind of you but I think Pierrot’s waiting for me and I don’t want him to worry. I went pretty high up, you know how much he hates that! ”

– “Naughty, you’re going to get an “avoinée”. “Arvi”! ”

We’re back in the burrow, what a great first trip out. I have to take care this summer, especially with my babies. Now I’m going to find Pierrot, he must be cleaning around the holes or chatting with the rest of the family.

Before I go, I hope you have a great summer in our mountains. Be quiet and you may well bump into chamois (now you can tell them apart) or some of my family. Be careful, watch out for flocks, wildflowers, rolling stones… Actually, you have to take care too but you don’t have any burrows to hide out in on the mountain EEEK.

I promise to strike a pose if I spot you and your camera! That’s what being an Aravishing marmot in La Yaute is all about.

XOXO. Mimine.